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[Event Report] Being with All Things—— Reading Activities Successfully Held


Everything in your eyes seems always flowing silently. But have you ever wondered, if a tree, a blade of grass, or even a speck of dust on this planet could speak, what would it tell us?


To talk about these questions, the library hosted some reading activities on September 16th. The event was divided into two sessions.


Session One: A Book Club of The Overstory


Collaborated with the Student Reading Society, the library held a book club in the morning on The Overstory, a socially significant environmental-themed book that delves into the relationship between humans and nature.


The book Club


The Overstory is a Pulitzer Prize-winning work by Richard Powers. It is a special novel on the topic of environment protection, about eight seemingly independent yet interrelated stories, aiming to make readers reexamine the relationship between nature and humanity through trees—one of the oldest species on Earth—and evoke resonance for harmonious coexistence among all things.



Richard Powers


During the book club, over ten readers discussed segments from The Overstory regarding the value of trees, the relationship between humans and trees, and more. International students from Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe also provided insightful perspectives, showcasing diverse views from various countries and regions. Participants not only gained a multifaceted understanding of the issues but also experienced cultural differences, enriching their knowledge.


The International Students


At the end of the session, participants took a group photo. They expressed that through the book club, they learned to no longer perceive natural elements and humans as opposing entities. Instead, they aimed to coexist and harmonize better with non-human entities, which is perhaps the essence of reading and attending book clubs.



A Group Photo


Session Two: One Book Project for Freshmen—— A Short History of Nearly Everything


In the afternoon of September 16th, Caitriana, a teacher from the English Language Center, gave a lecture of effective reading" and a book club of A Short History of Nearly Everything.


A Living Library Given to Caitriana As A Souvenir


In the lecture, Caitriana started with the topics of what to read in daily life and why to read and ended with allowing freshmen to gain more effective reading skills through in-depth Q&A sessions. Caitriana patiently answered for each question, making the freshmen less fearful in an English environment.


The Lecture


In the book club, they discussed Chapter 25 of A Short History of Nearly Everything in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere with light music and a cup of coffee.


A Short History of Nearly Everything as a classic popular science work in modern scientific history, presents science in a more accessible and engaging manner. The author vividly showcases the miraculous moments of the microcosm under a microscope, Benjamin Franklin's electrifying experiments, and great moments in human history alongside the wondrous moments in the natural world.


Bill Bryson

In the book club, participants remained interested and engaged. They debated whether there is a "correct" answer. Caitriana encouraged students to express their thoughts and emphasized that there is no "standard" answer for any topic and the purpose of the book club is communication.


“Everyone can give their own thoughts, and no one will mock your ideas. It's a peaceful and calmful moment. It’s quite good."

— Chen Wang


"It's good enough, I think."

— Taoyu Zhu




The Book Club in the Cafe



A Group Photo


The reading activities were held successfully with over 40 participants, including some international students. The lecture on effective reading and the relaxed environment of the book club allowed students to gradually adapt to thinking in a different language.


In today's fast-paced life, participating in such "long" and slow-paced activities is undoubtedly a special experience. Participants sincerely hope that the library will continue to hold such activities, which allows them to relax and gain some energy amidst their busy lives.




September 20, 2023